204_NO_CONTENT

intro text about Fritz's work by Goran Blagus

from portfolio of prints 204_NO_CONTENT . imgs: Darko Fritz . txts: net.wurker][mez][ . published by S Gallery . Koprivnica . 2001 
 


Keeping abreast of the development of the latest communication technologies, contemporary art, particularly because of the networking of computers in the Internet, has suddenly acquired the opportunity to become an omnipresent global phenomenon resisting every known form of the methodological systematisation of its values. NO VALUE is the title of an earlier series of multiples of one of the most interesting representatives of media art in Croatia - Darko Fritz. Developed from the point of view of ědevaluing the systemî, these works, like some other projects done in this early period, were to be manifested through a multimedia and site specific installation. For example, a work from 1994, in which the growth of flowers in an art installation is transferred via closed-circuit video as screening of images in a gallery, also involved Fritzís attempt at what is well known today as a Webcast. This action, it would be seen soon after it was created, was to acquire the importance of fundamental tautological reference for almost all Fritzís subsequent creative work. These are works reduced to a concrete verbal content, where on the one hand there is a cancellation, but at the same time an additional and semantic complication, of the artistic, or genuine material ground, in the context of which the verbal contents actually appear. From this point of view the most characteristic works are Fritzís telefax actions, done several times during the past decade, the most outstanding being Keep that Frequency Clear, Error Report and End of the Massage. On the whole these works are based on the recognition of an error in computer operating systems because of which there is a complex process of the metastasis of a virtual and incorporeal reality into a completely real surrounding. 
The artistís most recent interest is directed towards the reading of the Internet as a kind of digital paradigm of the human biological system. One of the first of Fritzís series of works translating the contents of cyber wastelands into the unique form of a traditional picture is entitled Internet Porno. This refers to the anonymous and socially unacceptable explicit pornographic material that is distributed over the net on various adult sites. Through interventions into the digital basis of these downloaded original pics, Fritz designs from them, through manipulative editorial work on his own computer, a luxuriant and kaleidoscopic structure that later, liberated from its original semantics, and indeed from any kind of metaphors to the topic of sex, turns into a mirror of the entropy of the human inability to communicate normally. The world today is reduced to the object of desire while reality itself is hyperbolised. The Internet undoubtedly stimulates this kind of mental situation of the moment of civilisation, but at the same time it gives us the illusion that everything is within our reach. 
But what happens when the contents blank out, and the well-known code message appears on our screens informing us that it cannot be called up. 404 NO CONTENT is not just a dead HTML link, nor does it simply manifest an error of the web servers that function in this day and age like prostheses for brains; it is also the collapse of human illusions that everything, even in an idealised and virtual environment, ought to be, should be, in its right place. Taking over, that is, the standardised net codes that inform us about the existence of such errors, that is, that testify to the non-existence of content, and applying them as graphics printed in offset technology, the contents also being illegible (actually, these are the first trial prints of the calendar for the Siroki Brijeg Franciscan calendar for 1991), Fritz, holding his dialogue with the time of some ten years back, has set up a multi-layer, metalanguage structure that is additionally, here in this common print folder, put in an exceptionally congruent relation with the language-specific poetry of the Australian woman net activist Mez.

Goran Blagus

translated by Graham McMaster